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A Paganini - Virtuoso Music For Violin / Kremer

Release Date: 11/13/2007 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 415484   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinrich Wilhelm ErnstNathan MilsteinGeorge RochbergAlfred Schnittke
Performer:  Gidon Kremer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

On the strength of this disc alone Gidon Kremer could be ranked amongst the elite of world violinists, and I am talking about performers such as Heifetz, Milstein, Ricci and Perlman. In matters of technique Kremer is entirely their equal. He plays Milstein's confection Paganiniana perhaps with a little less cosmopolitan grace than its originator, but he brings more soul to the pyrotechnics. It was a nice idea to present a thematic programme. The disc both begins and ends with Paganini's Caprice No. 24 (the one used by Brahms and Rachmaninov, et al.) and not only does Paganini's music in some shape or form feature in all but one of the works, but Kremer has planned the recital so as to challenge the listener into thinking beyond the Read more bravura into the broader scope of the ethos that surrounds Paganini's music.

The Ernst piece may be the odd one out, but in the ''Last Rose of Summer'' Etude he was aiming to extend the technical range of the violin beyond Paganini, and in doing so he created a work that defeats all but a handful of today's super-virtuosos. It is with absolute security that Kremer copes with such difficulties as playing the melody with a lef-hand pizzicato surrounded by simultaneous bowed arpeggios. Harmonics are true throughout, as is a uniformly pleasant tone (something that often goes by the board in Ricci's Paganini).

The Schnittke conjures up an obscure and other-worldly image of Paganini in punctuating the often dissonant virtuoso writing with snatches from the original works. This heightens the impression of a tormented individual who cannot reconcile the bravura elements with the dark side of his nature.

There are 51 variations in the work of the American composer George Rochberg (b. 1918) and Kremer plays 24 of these. They are in many different styles: nineteenth-century virtuoso, a foxtrot, jazz and atonal, with allusions to other compositions. Immensely taxing, the Caprice Variations come off as a tour de force; a compendium of different styles of violin writing. The DG engineers show Kremer's tone in the most sympathetic light. One of the most impressive violin records I have heard in recent years.'

James Methuen-Campbell, Gramophone 4/1986,
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Works on This Recording

Polyphonic Studies (6) for Violin solo: no 6, Variations on "The Last Rose of Summer" by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865 
Paganiniana by Nathan Milstein
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Caprice Variations (51) for Violin solo "Paganini": Excerpt(s) by George Rochberg
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970; USA 
A Paganini by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; USSR 

Sound Samples

Paganiniana (Variations) for Violin solo
"A Paganini" - per violin solo (Andante - Cadenza I-Cadenza II)
Sechs mehrstimmige Etuden: Etude VI "Die letzte Rose" ("The Last Rose")
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.42 Nocturnal: slow
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.34 Molto adagio
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.35 Allegro molto: fantastico
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.18 Allegro fantastico
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.5 Poco agitato ma con molto rubato
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.21 Allegro con brio (after Beethoven:Symph.no.7)
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.7 Presto (after Beethoven: op.74, Scherzo)
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.8 Languido (after Schubert: Waltz op.9 no.22)
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.23 Andante grazioso e tranquillo
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.36 Largo: sereno
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.24 Allegretto
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.25 Scherzo
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.46 Bravura:sempre recitanto; in the "grand manner"
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.16 Andante amoroso
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.43 Andantino
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.45 Presto
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.19 Vivace
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.38 Can-can tempo: presto
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.31 Molto adagio
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.44 Scherzo (after Mahler: Symphony No.5,Scherzo)
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.41 Allegro molto (after Webern: Passacaglia,op.1)
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.49 Feroce
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.50 Fantasy
Caprice Variations (for Unaccompanied Violin): No.51 Quasi Presto; robusto - Paganini's Theme

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